[EDITORIALS]A sleepy watchdog

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[EDITORIALS]A sleepy watchdog

The evaluation committee in charge of news and education programs of the Korean Broadcasting Commission is responsible for determining whether the broadcasting stations violated the principle of fair reporting when they aired reports on the impeachment of the president. It has failed to reach a conclusion. The committee said it would seek an expert opinion and analysis from academics while continuing its own deliberations at its next meeting. Based on the analysis and evaluation, the committee said, it will make a final decision as soon as possible.
We feel depressed to see the committee move at such a snail’s pace. The legislative elections are only three weeks away. In the elections, it will not be the policy platforms or personal qualifications of candidates, but their parties’ positions on the presidential impeachment, that will be the decisive factor in getting votes. Taking this into account, the decision of the committee should be made quickly.
But the committee thinks differently. It makes things more and more complicated as time goes by. The analysis of the programs by academics in tandem with the committee’s deliberations is nothing but a foot-dragging exercise. It may look prudent at first glance that the committee wants the help of academics, but it is in fact an evasion of its responsibility. If the commissioners, who are appointed because of their expertise in the media, do not have enough expert knowledge, we doubt their qualifications.
Even more of a problem is the committee’s easygoing attitude. The committee must hold weekly meetings, and it can also hold additional sessions when necessary. Although it has been more than 12 days since the programs in question were broadcast, not one extra session has been called. Fifty-six hours of impeachment coverage were aired. If the commissioners tried harder, they could reach a conclusion.
Does the broadcasting commission have the will to keep fairness and balance in broadcasting? Shifting a decision that is commonsensical to experts is neglect of its reponsibility. If the decision is postponed repeatedly and biased broadcasts continue, who will be the beneficiary? The committee should not neglect its duty and make poor excuses.
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